You know what UEFA? We don't care! That was the message delivered by FC Barcelona on Wednesday evening at the Camp Nou, as the club responded to recent sanctions against the presence of the Catalan flag during their last Champions League home match by attacking UEFA's respect campaign, and handing out over 30,000 esteladas for the crowd to display in the lead up to kickoff. Anyone familiar with the club and with the region knows the struggle that the Catalan people have endured in their nigh-on eternal battle for independence; last month, the movement took a clear, tangible step forward.
Junts Pel Si, in effect a conglomerate of Catalunya's most prominent and therefore mainstream separatist parties, stormed to victory in the latest set of regional elections, setting in motion what will likely be the strongest case for Catalan independence yet. I was fortunate enough to be in the city for this historic moment; the celebration that followed this admittedly initial victory was astounding -- a clear indicator that at least a vocal and enthusiastic group of the region would like the opportunity to decide in a future referendum.
Enough politics though, at least in the purest sense -- and back to tonight's match. The two teams walked out to a chorus of whistles, drowning out the famous Champions League anthem in its entirety, while Barça unveiled a banner to voice their discontent over the recent sanctions.
For a taster of the atmosphere and the reaction to the anthem, check the video below; it served as a fitting precursor to another enjoyable, yet distinctive night of Blaugrana football.
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